Out Today and Giveaway for ROAD TO THE SUN!


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review and giveaway a contemporary M/M romance with suspense, too, from Keira Andrews. Ms. Andrews is an auto-buy author for me, and I can tell you I own more than ten of her books! Like BEYOND THE SEA, THE NEXT COMPETITOR and READING THE SIGNS, new release ROAD TO THE SUN features a young man who’s never had a gay experience–finding love with another man. The circumstances aren’t ideal, but they find a happy ending together.

About the book:
A desperate father. A lonely ranger. Unexpected love that can’t be denied.
Jason Kellerman’s life revolves around his eight-year-old daughter. Teenage curiosity with his best friend led to Maggie’s birth, her mother tragically dying soon after. Insistent on raising his daughter himself, he was disowned by his wealthy family and has worked tirelessly to support Maggie—even bringing her west on a dream vacation. Only twenty-five, Jason hasn’t had time to even think about romance. So the last thing he expects is to question his sexuality after meeting an undeniably attractive park ranger.

Ben Hettler’s stuck. He loves working in the wild under Montana’s big sky, but at forty-one, his love life is non-existent, his ex-boyfriend just married and adopted, and Ben’s own dream of fatherhood feels impossibly out of reach. He’s attracted to Jason, but what’s the point? Besides the age difference and skittish Jason’s lack of experience, they live thousands of miles apart. Ben wants more than a meaningless fling.

Then a hunted criminal takes Maggie hostage, throwing Jason and Ben together in a desperate and dangerous search through endless miles of mountain forest. If they rescue Maggie against all odds, can they build a new family together and find a place to call home?

Road to the Sun is a May-December gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring adventure, angst, coming out, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

My Review:
Ben Hettler’s a ranger in Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. (Beautiful place! I highly recommend you visit before the glacier melts. Not kidding!) He’s caught between his love for this land which is his home, where he grew up and everything, and the distaste he has staying his job when his boss is his former lover of twenty years. And That Guy and his new husband have adopted an infant. All of Ben’s dream s of fatherhood seem to be slipping through his grasp, meanwhile he’s gritting out smiles and polite chit chat.

Jason Kellerman has been a single dad for eight years–raising his daughter Maggie from infancy and without any assistance since her mother was killed. He loved Maggie’s mom–as a friend, and was unwilling to let her go into foster care, so he turned his back on his parents’ wishes and made his won way. He’s scrimped and saved enough to afford a trip camping in Glacier Park. Maggie is a nature-lover and has spent a year reading up on the park, its flora and fauna, and building her excitement.

Jason and Maggie each are smitten with Ben, for different reasons. Maggie’s thrilled he’s willing to answer her many and myriad questions; Jason’s not sure if Ben’s flirting with him–and even more surprising, Jason thinks he likes it.

Conflict comes in the form of murderous survivalist who captured Maggie while on a hike, leaving Jason and Ben to track him down. It’s a brutal chase over unfavorable terrain, but neither man is willing to turn back. Ben’s shocked by the strong kinship he feels with Jason, and Jason’s a total wreck that Ben barely manages to keep together. I really felt for both of these guys, fearing the worst, and unable to go farther. All parents freak out when a child disappears, but having Maggie used as a hostage is just too much for Jason to bear. And, speaking of bears expect some grizzly action.

All this happens in the first half of the book; the second half is about Jason and Ben making sense of their new world, and the relationship that blossomed under the stress of pursuit. Jason’s a near-virgin, despite his 25 years. Ben’s afraid to hope for love after losing his one and only partner to another man. Plus, Jason has never identified as gay–though the signs were there, he notices in retrospect. This isn’t a gay-for-you story, its a romantic suspense between two determined men who risk their lives to save Maggie. I read the whole deal in one late night sitting because I can’t bear not knowing what’s coming next.

Expect some interesting, suspenseful times, some hot loving, and a little girl whose love for her dad could fill a warehouse. And, vise versa. Ben will, and has, sacrificed his whole life for Maggie, and it isn’t until Ben notices Jason that he recognizes how shut-off he’d been. Both of these guys make the other one better, and that’s a good pairing to experience.

Interested? You can find ROAD TO THE SUN on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book from Keira Andrews.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can catch up with Keira on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

So Many Great Books!!! 2016 Bests

Hi there! Well, it’s been a YEAR! Ugh! I’m not going to bemoan it too much, because this blog is a way for me to escape the everyday drama. So, let’s do that, shall we!

First, it’s been a book-filled year! 279 books, and 58,968 pages logged through Goodreads, though I’ve forgotten some and ran out of time to add others. So, you’ll see those reviews in the coming year.

I usually make a whole long list, and this year is no exception. It isn’t a Top Ten countdown, or anything. I’d recommend any of these books equally. Hit the links for a full review.

FLIP-THE-BIRD-2Awesome YA books:
Flip the Bird by Kym Brunner. A high school freshman and training falconer falls for a girl whose parents are animal rights fanatics. Big trouble, great messages.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. Slice of life book about questioning young gay persons. Really got my heart engaged. Also fell into the Most Challenged (Banned) category that I was interested in exploring.

Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes. A girl struggles to get past her guilt, and rebuild her life after tragedies take away half her family.

Simon V. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: Coming out shouldn’t be this way. Simon’s awesome, and lovely.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I felt transported to 1987 Texas. It’s not a place I’d want to be–but I’d go there just to be with Ari and Dante. Thick book devoured in a day.

Great anybody reads:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, James Thorne, and JK Rowling.  Harry’s all grown up, and saving the world, yet again. This time his son is the biggest problem.

illusory-prophetCrossing the Horizon by Laurie Notaro. Brave and bawdy ladies of the air try to be the first to cross the Atlantic.

Illusory Prophet by Susan Kaye Quinn.  A futuristic saga with an enhanced human trying to save the rest of humanity. This is the third book in a series. Get them all.

Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema. Lou is a champion swimmer whose been cast out of the pool. It’s pants-wettingly funny.

Great Gay romance:
My goodness. I read SOOO many of these. (more than 100! in 2016) Here’s a few hightlights:
Fave Hurt/Comfort: WHAT REMAINS by Garrett Leigh. Man. This one broke my heart into a million pieces by the end. A man struggles to support his lover after a traumatic brain injury destroys his partner’s memories of their love affair.

A Bear Walks Into A BarFave Dirty Pleasure read: A BEAR WALKS INTO A BAR is a straight up gay erotica from Eden Winters. There’s no man the big bad bear won’t have. Once, or twice. Multi-partner, orgy and various shifters dead ahead.

Fave Paranormal: WOLFSONG by TJ Klune. Pick this one up to curl up with over a cold weekend. It’s really long, yet the unconventional prose had me riveted. It’s a fated mates, shifter story that blew me away.

Fave Virgin Lover: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT by Jay Northcote. This is so fun, with a nerdy college student trading love lessons for stats tutoring with his sporty neighbor. I enjoyed every moment of them crossing sexytimes off the list.

Fave Steampunk/Alt History:
CLOCKWORK HEART by Heidi Cullinan. A French tinker saves a dying Hungarian with the long-sought clockwork heart technology his master has been hiding for years. Let the pursuit begin.

walk-like-a-manFave Shifter romance: HOW TO WALK LIKE A MAN by Eli Easton. This is the second book in a series, and I think readers will enjoy all of them, but this one is my favorite, so far. The story revolves around a man who used to be a dog, and how he copes with being human, and finding love with a fellow police officer.

Fave Ugly Cry: SELFIE by Amy Lane. Features a Hollywood star living through the death of his closeted partner—and his complete and utter heartbreak. Suicide ideation, depression, coping, and new love. It was a rollercoaster of feels—all of them intense.

Fave Series: CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat. I read all three of these books in a week back in March, because I lost my mind with the first book and dove headlong into the series. Sleepless for at least one night so I could get to the end. Amazing if you like fantasy/political intrigue. PRINCE’S GAMBIT KINGS RISING, are the other two books. Must read.

Fave Sequel: FIGHT THE TIDE by Keira Andrews. This is the sequel to KICK AT THE DARKNESS and it kicked ass. Surviving in a post-apocalyptic world is rough, but it’s easier when your boyfriend is a werewolf. So many zombies…

TOO HOT TO HANDLE - coverFave Het Romances:
TOO HOT TO HANDLE by Tessa Bailey. A chef burns sown her mother’s former restaurant, and cobbles her busted family to go on a vision quest trip from San Diego to NYC. Sweet and raunchy by turns.

JACKSON’S TRUST by Violet Duke. Love for two sports reporters/analysts with an unhealthy dose of crappy family drama.

COCKY BASTARD by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland. Very fun story about a lawyer running from her disastrous past, and the sexy soccer player who scoops her up in the middle of nowhere.

bright-blazeFave ending to a series:
BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC by Jennifer Estep. This is the third book in an urban fantasy YA series that rocks. I recommend all the books highly, but this finale did NOT disappoint. Magic, magical creatures, fighting for your family until the death, a wee bit of love and romance? Bam! It’s all there.

MANNERS AND MUTINY by Gail Carriger. I’ve completely fallen for this steampunk world of intrigue and assassins.

Fave transgender YA read:
THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson. Heartbreakingly freaking awesome. Some part of me will always remember this one. For kids/parents who are questioning gender dysphoria, I highly recommend.

Okay, so lots of different stuff to pick from because I have eclectic tastes. Hopefully something piques your interest, too. Share your fave reads in the comments so I can find something new, or just commiserate.

Going forward into 2017, I have a plan to pick up TBR reads on Thursdays, because, wow, to I have a lot of books in my queue. And, I probably won’t be posting quite as many reviews…because I’m back to teaching in February, that shaping young minds takes up a LOT of reading time, yo.

As always, thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Love and Loss for THE NEXT COMPETITOR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary New Adult sports M/M romance from Keira Andrews. THE NEXT COMPETITOR isn’t a Christmas book, but it features fantastic male figure skaters, and that’s wintry to me! Plus, I’ve recently gotten hooked on YURI!!! ON ICE, a lovely new anime with respectfully-portrayed gay characters, so I was jazzed to read this one.

And that cover! #Swoon…

tncAbout the book:
If he risks his heart, can he keep his head in the game?
To win gold, figure skater Alex Grady must train harder than the competition morning, noon, and night. He’s obsessed with mastering another quadruple jump, and due to the lack of filter between his mouth and brain, doesn’t have a lot of friends. As for a boyfriend, forget it. So what if he’s still a virgin at twenty? The Olympics are only every four years—everything else can wait. Relationships are messy and complicated anyway, and he has zero room in his life for romance.

So it’s ridiculous when Alex finds himself checking out his boring new training mate Matt Savelli. Calm, collected “Captain Cardboard” is a nice guy, but even if Alex had time to date, Matt’s so not his type. Yet beneath Matt’s wholesome surface, there’s a dirty, sexy man who awakens a desire Alex has never experienced and can’t deny…

Note: This gay romance from Keira Andrews features opposites attracting, new adult angst, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

This new version has been extensively rewritten, updated, and expanded into a new adult romance with explict on-page sex.

My Review:
This is a strongly-written New Adult M/M sports romance which features elite amateur skaters.

Alex Grady is a taciturn skater determined to win gold at the Olympics. He came to skating late, but has worked really, really hard to make it to the top, winning US Nationals in the previous season. He has a new coach, Mrs. C, who is a former Russian champion, and gives Alex the tough instruction he needs. It’s an Olympic year and he’s training in Toronto, isolated from his family in New Jersey, making few friends of his training mates.

Matt Savelli, one-half of a partners team, is an attractive man, one that Alex can’t help but notice. Looking is all Alex really wants. He’s known he was gay for most of his life, but he’s never had a boyfriend. Alex’s out to his family, but he keeps his sexuality private, fearing some judges may lower his scores out of prejudice, especially with hypermasculine skaters tearing up the ice with all their huge jumps. Plus, dating someone would just take time away from training, and Alex can’t afford it. His family’s financial situation is very much dependent upon Alex’s performance.

Still, as Alex interacts with Matt, he recognizes that Matt’s not the model of perfection he projects. Their friendship grows, a bit. And, when a tragedy occurs on the ice and Matt’s partner is injured, Alex is there to pick Matt up from his depression, encouraging him to skate singles for the first time in years. Not only that, they connect in a way Alex never has with a man before. The competitive atmosphere is exciting as Alex and Matt both strive for their personal Olympic dreams. At the end of the day, however, Alex is focused on winning gold, and he messes up with Matt, big time.

I really enjoyed all the skating bits. I’m (at best) a casual figure skating fan–I appreciate its beauty, but it’s not really my thing–yet I didn’t feel lost, or overwhelmed with the sport bits. The story is one of setting goals, and reaching for them over all other parts of life, and that self-sacrifice is something I do really connect with. Alex’s life has a combustive energy, with his no-filter mouth and his solitary habits. He’s socially-awkward and abrasive, as a result. Matt stayed away at first because of that, thinking the Alex was a big jerk. He isn’t, really, but his shell is tough to crack, and he’s petulant at times with a horrid habit of lashing out when frustrated. That said, he does make amends, and his tender heart is revealed in lovely ways over the second half of the story.

There’s also a sweet bit of sexual exploration here, because Alex begins the book as a virgin, and Matt takes care of that bit of business. Both sweet and tender, and hot and dirty, loving are on the menu, folks. There’s also some heartbreak, and a lot of personal growth in store for Alex. I loved that he began the book as a prickly young man, and ended as a freaking teddy bear.

Interested? You can find THE NEXT COMPETITOR on Goodreads and Amazon.

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can catch up with Keira on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Getting It Right READING THE SIGNS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for newly released M/M sports romance from Keira Andrews. I’ve always admired Ms. Andrews’ contemporary romances, be they Amish (A FORBIDDEN RUMSPRINGA) or disaster-related (BEYOND THE SEA), but I really fell hard for the yummy older/younger, slightly kinky, love affair that bloomed between pitcher and catcher in READING THE SIGNS.

signsAbout the book:
This hot-headed rookie needs discipline—on and off the field.
Pitcher Nico Agresta is desperate to live up to his family’s baseball legacy. Since he was a teenager crushing on his big brother’s teammate, he’s known he can’t act on his desires. His father’s made it clear there should be no queers on the field, but if Nico can win Rookie of the Year like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he’s worthy after all.

At 34, veteran catcher Jake Fitzgerald just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn’t have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress? Jake lost his passion for the game—and life—after driving away the man he loved, and he swore he’d never risk his heart again.

Then he’s traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. But tightly wound Nico’s having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection, and Jake needs to teach him patience and restraint on the mound.

When their push and pull explodes into the bedroom, Nico and Jake will both learn how much they’ll risk for love.

This gay sports romance features men who have been repressing their feelings far too long, light BDSM, an age difference, sweaty locker rooms, and a happy ending.

My Review:
I absolutely loved this delicious, slightly kinky, M/M baseball romance.

Jake Fitzgerald is a seasoned veteran catcher in the big leagues, and he’s got a comfortable life playing for a team that’s never in contention come October. While closeted, Jake has a casual arrangement with a married couple who enjoy a third now and again. He never has to worry about the only man he ever loved, his ex-best friend Brandon, who was long ago traded to Toronto. He doesn’t have to worry at all, really. His mother has long encouraged him to come out and find a suitable life partner, but Jake doesn’t want to get hurt, not like when Brandon found the love of his life and married her. Jake wants to go through the motions of life, hiding his heart and his true self from the limelight until he retires in a couple seasons.

Until he’s traded to Ottawa. To a young expansion team hungry to make the playoffs and needing a cool head behind the plate to guide their hot-shot pitchers, especially Nico Agresta.

Nico is a rookie, having a stellar season on the mound, except for his temper. Once he loses control, even for a moment, he piles all his mistakes into an unscalable mountain. And, his casually homophobic father never lets up on Nico. A retired Hall of Famer, Al Agresta is ready with six comments on how Nico can improve his performance the second Nico steps off the mound. Nico’s quietly grateful that he plays in Ottawa, and not Chicago like his elder brother, just so he gets a break from their father’s scrutiny. Not that Nico ever stops berating himself. For not being straight, or for being the reason his mother died. He’s only more unsettled when Jake joins the team and begins working with him regularly. Jake was Nico’s first crush–years ago Jake and Nico’s brother played together, and Jake spent many a Sunday dinner at their house. It was natural for Jake to take Nico under his wing and help him with his fastball. Now, Nico’s ashamed of all the fantasies he’d built around Jake as a horny teen–and he’s mortified to find himself only more attracted as a grown, and sexually unsatisfied, man. He’s been with lots of women, hoping to find one that would spark more than just a perfunctory release, but one smile from Jake has him panting. He can’t escape his lust–which turns Nioc’s anxiety setting up to 20.

Jake and Nico reconnect, and Jake can’t help finding this all-grown version of Nico completely enticing. That he’s a brat in the clubhouse isn’t appealing however, and one incendiary moment burns both of their better sense to ashes. Nico’s attitude needs immediate correction, and Jake’s dominant hackles have been raised. The rest is whoa.

They know they can’t mess around near the team, but the peace Nico gains when Jake takes control is more than he can give up. Expect a little bit of kink. Spanking, dominating, a little bondage. Reminded me of BULL DURHAM, how Annie gets Nuke to think of other things on the mound so he can just throw the ball. Jake doesn’t make him “respect the streak” or anything. They develop a closeness that neither man had ever experienced before, even if it’s all behind closed doors. Even if it means Jake putting up with Al’s homophobic tripe at a home-cooked dinner when Ottawa comes to Chi-Town.

I absolutely loved the slow burn, and multi-layered characters. Al’s not a bad guy–he’s antiquated and old school, think Yogi Berra with a chip on his shoulder. But, when he learns the truth of Nico and his sexuality, Al reconsiders. Al measures his words, and the impact they had on his youngest child. Al…changes. It’s not miraculous, but there is improvement. And, when news breaks regarding Nico and Jake, well, Nico has his dad’s love and fierce protection in a way he’d never dreamed possible. People talk about mama bears–Al Agresta is freaking grizzly. I also loved how Jake came to terms with his past mistakes, and mends the friendships he’d wounded in silence, and intent. I also really liked how his attitude changed regarding baseball. He started out jaded and willing to coast, but the season in Ottawa sparked his love of the game again.

I loved the book, because it felt real and wild. I do hope the MLB would support it’s out players in the way Nico and Jake were, and fans would be as spectacular IRL as in fiction.

Interested? You can find READING THE SIGNS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, AllRomance, and Smashwords.

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can catch up with Keira on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Scared New World–FIGHT THE TIDE–Release Day Review and Author Interview!

Hi there! Today I get to welcome a fave author to my blog! I’ve read and reviewed at least five M/M romances from Keira Andrews, and I’ve loved each one. FIGHT THE TIDE, her newest book, launches today! It’s the sequel to KICK AT THE DARKNESS, one of my favorite books of 2015.

I had to reach out and get some comments from Keira on writing, her plans for the future, and Olympic opinions. Catch my interview and review below.

Fight the Tide (Kick at the Darkness, #2)About the book:
Adrift in a post-apocalyptic world, they only have each other. Is it enough?
A virus that turns the infected into zombie-like killers spreads through a burning world thrown into lawless chaos. Lovers Parker and Adam have escaped to the open sea when they hear a message over the airwaves from a place called Salvation Island—a supposed safe haven.

Orphaned as a child, werewolf Adam has always longed for a pack. He’s eager to investigate the island, but Parker doesn’t think for a nanosecond that the voice on the radio can be believed. He doesn’t trust anyone but Adam and is determined to keep it that way. They don’t need anyone else complicating their struggle to survive. Or do they?

Danger on the high seas can surface in a heartbeat, and if Parker and Adam aren’t careful, the current will drag them under.

This gay romance is a dystopian adventure featuring a werewolf, his boyfriend, and their struggle to find a place to call home.

Some fun thoughts from Author Keira Andrews…odd-ball questions provided by moi!

Kick At The Darkness and Fight the Tide are your first steps into paranormal fiction. Do you have plans to write more books in the genre?
I do! There’s going to be a third book in this series about Parker and Adam, and then a fourth centered on a character you’ll meet in Fight the Tide. I’ve really enjoyed writing paranormal, so will likely write supernatural books not connected to this series in the future as well.

What is your best tool keeping you happy and motivated as a full-time writer?
I truly love writing romance and although it’s a job with pros and cons like any job, my genuine passion for it keeps me motivated. If I’m feeling particularly lazy or burned out, I think about how much I hated working in an office. Imagining myself back in a cubicle is an excellent inspiration to get my butt in gear!

From your social media, it seems you are a huge fan of Olympic sports. Being that you’re Canadian, do you prefer Winter or Summer Games? What events are you most looking forward to watching in the 2016 Summer Games?
I am indeed a huge Olympic sports fan, and yep, as a Canadian (and a massive figure skating nut), the Winter Games are my fave. I do love the Summer Games as well, and I’m really looking forward to the diving, rowing, and gymnastics in particular. American gymnast Simone Biles is phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see her crush it.

What is your favorite trope in romance writing? Older-younger? First love? Enemies-to-lovers?
So hard to choose, but I definitely have an affinity for an age difference. Looking at my backlist, it comes up a lot! So does hate to love, and I also really enjoy a virgin. 😀

If you could only have either Marilla or Matthew Cuthbert as your parent, who would you choose, and why?
Ohhh, that’s a tough one. They’re both so wonderful in their own way. This is like Thunderdome. I guess I’d have to choose Matthew since he’s just so sweet and kind. And now that I’ve been pondering it, I really need to bust out my Anne of Green Gables DVDs!

My Review:

This is the second book in a series, and should be read after KICK AT THE DARKNESS. Some spoilers for KICK AT THE DARKNESS included.

It’s contemporary times, but it’s also the end of times. The world was infected with a virus that has decimated the population and turned the infected into mindless zombies. Adam and Parker were students at Stanford, Adam a 23 y/o films studies grad student, and Parker an 18 y/o freshman in Adam’s class when everything went bananas. They escaped California on Adam’s motorcycle and headed east, to see if Parker’s family survived the carnage. Along the way they were attacked, fell for each other, confessed some startling secrets, got over themselves, were held hostage, escaped from real and present dangers–many times–and hit the coast. Only to discover Parker’s family long gone.

They bundled up and took off for safety in a yacht, and that’s where Fight the Tide picks up. Parker and Adam are making their way south along the east coast. Parker is a trained sailor; his family owned a yacht and he sailed regularly in his childhood. That said, he’s never made such a long trip without more skilled partners–his father and elder brother–and he knows going into the open ocean is a very dangerous prospect. Staying close to shore isn’t easy either. It’s nearing the end of hurricane season, but storms could disable their boat, or send it crashing to the shore. Being near the coast allows them to drop into port now and again to scavenge supplies. Adam, who is a werewolf, always makes these trips as he’s immune to the virus, and his heightened strength and senses allow him to avoid or overcome any zombies that attack. That doesn’t help Parker, alone on the boat, when pirates board.

Despite Parker’s general wariness, he helps rescue a boat in a storm, picking up two adults and their kids. This companionship is mostly welcome, especially by Adam, who is a drifter and grateful for any pack he can cobble together. Adam and the other adults want to make sail for Salvation Island, a place not on any of Parker’s maps, yet whose beacons come across the radio frequencies every evening. Parker’s sure it’s another trap, and is adamantly against, but circumstances force even his will–when he needs to get help for one of his passengers.

There is constant action in this book. It’s a rollicking ride, with danger lurking from page-to-page. Parker isn’t good with people, and his suspicious nature is bolstered with each new tragedy. He’s also haunted by the pirate attack, and he’s ashamed that he can’t move past it. Adam’s a bulwark, but he can’t be everything for Parker. Plus, the calls of Salvation Island prove to be a siren song he has trouble resisting. I think if Adam had the ability to sail that far, he’d have forced Parker’s hand much sooner.

Despite the harrowing plot, there is still a strong romance here. Parker and Adam are two men in love, and they take great pleasure exploring their relationship in ways that were soopa-hawt. Serious. I had to stop and fan myself at times. As the book drew near it’s end, I was glad to watch Parker and Adam make it to safety, even as the seeds for a third book were clearly sown. Safety shouldn’t be the only goal, in Adam’s mind, not when there are so many humans struggling. I foresee a werewolf invasion, one that liberates humans and hopefully helps eradicate the virus–but that’s my own hope! Also, the author has mentioned a fourth, related, book, and I expect it will involve one of Parker’s rescues–Jacob–who will *fingers crossed* find a safe haven and partner down the road.

For paranormal/post-apocalyptic stories, this one’s really on the contemporary-realistic side of those genres. There’s little shifting, and the zombie menace is easy to imagine. I liked the elements of sailing included here, and thought it reflected a wealth of carefully-collected and sparingly delivered knowledge of actual sailing. I never felt overwhelmed by it; and I grasped how dangerous it was–in a way I had never really expected. In short, it felt so real, I could nearly taste the salty ocean spray on my face. I’m so in on this series, I might need to take drastic measures to get book 3 as soon as possible. Highly recommend!

Interested? You can find FIGHT THE TIDE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, AllRomance, and Smashwords.

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can catch up with Keira on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Finding Love BEYOND THE SEA–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from Keira Andrews. You know I’ve enjoyed her books about gay Amish love (A FORBIDDEN RUMSPINGA, A CLEAN BREAK, and A WAY HOME) and epidemic disaster survival (KICK AT THE DARKNESS) so I had to get her latest release. BEYOND THE SEA is a fascinating story of survival and love that develops when one least expects it.

Beyond the SeaAbout the book:
Even if it means quitting their boy band mid-tour, Troy Tanner isn’t going to watch his little brother snort his future away after addiction destroyed their father. On a private jet taking him home from Australia, he and pilot Brian Sinclair soar above the vast South Pacific. Brian lost his passion for flying—and joy in life—after a traumatic crash, but now he and Troy must fight to survive when a cyclone strikes without warning.

Marooned a thousand miles from civilization, the turquoise water and white sand beach look like paradise. But although they can fish and make fire, the smallest infection or bacteria could be deadly. When the days turn into weeks with no sign of rescue, Troy and Brian grow closer, and friendship deepens into desire.

As they learn sexuality is about more than straight or gay and discover their true selves, the world they’ve built together is thrown into chaos. If Troy and Brian make it off the island, can their love endure?

My Review:
Troy is a member of a boy band fleeing his drug abusing bandmate/brother Tyson after learning his bro’s on heroin. Brian is the co-pilot on the long range charter flight to bring Troy from Australia to LA.

The plane crashes, killing the pilot, leaving Brian and Troy marooned on a desert isle in the uninhabited atolls of the south Pacific. They are lucky to have survived, and to find nourishment on the island. They set to work surviving, in the hope of being found. They bond. Slowly, Troy–the sunny optimist–begins to realize what Brian has known all along…a rescue is unlikely, and less likely with every passing day. It’s a hard truth to own, as Troy feels terribly guilty for chartering the plane. He agonizes over Tyson’s well-being, and he’s lonely. He is used to never truly being alone, and this isolation with Brian is both a comfort and a curse. He’s held tight to some very ugly secrets and this connection to Brian–as the closest confidante he’s ever had–is confusing for him. He admires Brian, and this admiration leads to feelings of intimacy that he questions, a bit.

Brian, for his part, is overwhelmed by loss. This was not his first plane crash and he never anticipated surviving another. He’s stunned at how well Troy takes to marooned life. He’d expected a diva, and he’s pleasantly surprised at Troy’s unfailing strength and constantly upbeat nature. As an introvert, Brian needs some alone time, and soon recognizes that he looks forward to seeing Troy more and more. His usual erotic fantasies aren’t cutting it, not when Troy’s image intervenes. This is troubling to Brian, but not too much. Troy is the closest friend he’s had in…ever? He’s sexually frustrated, but that’s a small issue. Brian had closed himself off to his friendships a few years before and his forced occupation with Troy opens wounds he’d thought healed. Together, Troy and Brian find companionship and connection they hadn’t experienced, and it’s great for them. It leads to some sexual experimentation, and that helps to bond them closer.

I totally enjoyed this book. I was so captivated by the survival aspects and how these guys made it work. There are really harrowing bits, from the crash to the establishment of shelter, and the creepy-crawlies in the jungle. I liked how they had to work hard to survive, to some degree. Likewise, their attraction is something the characters work for. They get to know each other. They learn to like each other. They are deeply connected friends before they are anything more. Each man has a bit of a crisis with regard to their developing attraction. At first it’s all: We’re the last two people on the planet, practically, so why should we get bogged in societal norms/issues. They each adjust their hetero minds into a more “bi” space. As they experience more physical intimacy their feelings creep into love–and that’s when it gets a whole lot more complicated.

Whatever people may feel about Gay For You as a trope, I think that there are a lot of people who believe themselves to be bisexual and resist same-sex attraction for myriad reasons. I enjoy stories that have characters make big choices and have big adventures. I enjoy stories that have some logical progression, and I’m rather certain that survivors on a desert isle would likely find physical and emotional solace with each other. Of course, I grew up watching THE BLUE LAGOON on cable TV and, well, two healthy, isolated, straight dudes tentatively getting it on (okay it was some yummy sexytimes!) is nothing compared to two Victorian cousins discovering puberty, love and sexuality together… at least not in my 9 y/o brain.

Interested? You can find BEYOND THE SEA on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, and AllRomance.

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can catch up with Keira on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

What happened to 2015?!

book meme 6So…wow! The year’s end already? I’m a bit stunned, but also grateful. Some years whoosh by like a snowplow burying me under, but this year I’ve had the opportunity to read some really fun books, travel and interact with fantastic authors and review-types, like myself, and enjoy many moments along the way.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I also write, and I’m at the point of sending out a manuscript to agents coming next week. Fingers crossed that I’ll have the chance to promote some of my own fiction one day soon!

Book meme 3For the blog, I’ve gotten some great stats. Nearly 13,000 pages views this year. Not bad for a relatively unknown chick who drones on and on about books. If you’ve signed up to get my posts emailed, you’re in good company–140 of you special folks right now. Thanks for joining me on this madcap escapade! Lots of people are finding my reviews, and reading them/sharing them. I appreciate that so much, because it’s not easy reading and writing content to support the blog. It takes hours and hours each day, in fact. My hubs will attest he’d much rather I gave (most of) it up, so I could just sit and veg out watching TV with him…crossing his fingers that that might ever happen. TV is not really my thing.

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Goodreads tells me I read 375 books this year, but it’s been more. I didn’t log all my reads, though there are few that didn’t get reviews there. I have had a great time working with Joyfully Jay Reviews, picking up some excellent reads through their platform and generally interacting with those lovely folks. Authors have reached out to me and I’ve reached back, supporting their fiction in the best way I can. That’s a wonderfully rewarding experience, emotionally, and helps my pocketbook from getting TOO frayed. Yes, there are books that I do buy, and I cherish all my books–whether they were purchased or gifted for my review.

As this is a year’s end recap, it’s apt to highlight some books/series that got into my brain in the past 12 months.

Best read of the year:
No question it was CARRY THE OCEAN by Heidi Cullinan. This book touched my soul and left it altered for the better. Having suffered depression in my life, and having close friends/family with kids on the Autism Spectrum, this plain-spoken M/M romance between a brilliant autistic man and his depressive neighbor was spectacular.

Best YA read:
NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST by Eric Lindstrom. Touching tale of an orphaned blind girl who learns to “see” everyone she knows in the best light–even herself.

Best YA series:
I’ve really enjoyed reading the Backstage Pass series of contemporary YA romances between the members of the boy band Seconds To Juliet and the smart, worthwhile girls the boys all fall for. There are five books in the series, and I think I reviewed 4 of them…
Abby and the Cute One, Mia and the Bad Boy, Anya and the Shy Guy, Daisy and the Front Man.

Book Meme-1Best Adrenaline Rush:
KICK AT THE DARKNESS by Keira Andrews, a zombie apocalypse M/M romance kept me glued to my iPad long into the night, and the next day.

Best SciFi series:
I’ve really enjoyed the AI world carved out by Susan Kaye Quinn’s Legacy Human series. It’s a bit dystopian, a bit tech and a bit romance. And I love all those bits! Looking forward to reading more of this in 2016. THE LEGACY HUMAN, THE DUALITY BRIDGE, STORIES OF SINGULARITY.

Best contemporary New Adult series:
Karen Stivali’s Moments in Time series is really a must read for me. This is a contemporary M/M romance which is emotional and sexy, at the same time. I’ve loved all four Moments books so far, and eagerly anticipate the next release. MOMENT OF IMPACT, MOMENT OF TRUTH, MOMENT OF CLARITY, and MOMENT OF SILENCE.
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Best Paranormal Romance:
THE SECRET CASEBOOK OF SIMON FEXIMAL by KJ Charles rocked my world and set it right again. Historical M/M paranormal romance that kept me turning the page long after I went to bed.

Most Resilient Heroines: (Teen)
Ivy in THE REVOLUTION OF IVY by Amy Engel–She takes on her entire desolate town and finds the true love of her life. YA dystopian.

Lulu in MY BEST EVERYTHING by Sarah Tomp. West Virginian high school senior Lulu’s college fund has dried up, but she can’t bear to stay in her small town any longer. So, she enlists the help of Mason to make a fortune selling illegal moonshine. YA contemporary.

Morgan La Fey in SWORD by Realm Lovejoy. Morgan kidnaps a prince, drags him through the swamps of Camelot and helps him find Excalibur–all to thwart a murder plot. And her execution? Wow. YA fantasy.
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Best Action/Adventure:
I AM THE TRAITOR is the final installment in the Unknown Assassin series by Allen Zadoff. You really need to strap in and read I AM THE WEAPON and I AM THE MISSION, first. You’ll thank me. YA contemporary.

Best Enemies to Lovers:
Historical
TO LOVE A TRAITOR by JL Merrow really flipped all my historical British M/M romance switches…
Christmas Romance
IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS by Keira Andrews took two battered hearts and shoved them into a car on a cross-country trek to make it home in time for Christmas. Swoon.

Best erotica:
The CAUGHT ON CAMERA series by Lily Harlem is spectacular M/M romance. Just loved all the sexy sexy bits, and the romance that developed between two new-to-porn stars on a filming trip was tender and lovely.

Best Menage:
M/F/M
THREE TWO ONE by JA Huss. Hot and chilling, by turns. This is a dark romance and not everyone makes it out alive.
M/M/M
SHARING A POND by Alex Whitehall. Frog Shifters. Pretty much knocked me out. Not the sexytimes, as those were satisfactory, but the emotional issues were excellent, and I’ve got a thing for frogs, I think.
Historical M/F/M:
THE MISTRESS AND HER MEN by Julia Talbot. A sassy widow and a daring nobleman–plus some BDSM? Yes, mistress!
Historical M/M/M:
RITE OF SUMMER by Tess Bowery was so loving and tender, and troubled.

Best Near Historical:
IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT by Judy Blume, historical fiction featuring her true-life experience of living in a town where three airplanes crashed within 59 days of each other. Harrowing!

Best Recovery Story:
CLEAN by Mia Kerick. This one gave me chills. M/M YA romance between two guys who’ve been down and out and almost didn’t make it.

book-meme-8Best Subculture:
Who knew the Amish would captivate me? I adored Keira Andrew’s M/M Amish Romances A FORBIDDEN RUMSPRINGA, A CLEAN BREAK, and A WAY HOME. They really touched my heart.

Honestly, I could go on for blogs, and blogs. But I won’t; books to read, books to write after all! That said, I’m looking forward to sharing reviews for great books in the coming year and I hope you’ll enjoy reading along with me.

Feel free to send me your recommendations. Goodness knows, I’ll probably pick it up. (Fiction, and preferably romance-ish, though. I don’t review non-fiction, memoir or cookbooks.)

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!
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